‘Everyone was there’ - scout reveals reason Liverpool and Man Utd did not sign Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland has scored 12 goals in eight games for Manchester City this season but Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal are all said to have had a chance to have signed him as a teenager.

Liverpool could have signed Erling Haaland when he was a youngster, according to former Molde chief scout John Vik.

Haaland has started life at Manchester City in unimaginable form after arriving from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. The striker has already plundered a staggering 12 goals - including two hat-tricks - in just eight appearances.

Erling Haaland celebrates scoring for Man City. Picture: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images
Erling Haaland celebrates scoring for Man City. Picture: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images
Erling Haaland celebrates scoring for Man City. Picture: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

Haaland started his career at Norway club Molde before moving to Red Bull Salzburg and Dortmund and then completing a £51 million move to City.

Speaking to The Athletic, Vik has claimed that the Reds, Manchester United and Arsenal all looked at Haaland. However, he was deemed a target man and Vik believes that’s why Liverpool did not make a move.

What’s been said

He said: “I think they (the English scouts) looked at him as a target man because he was so big. I kept telling them, ‘He’s not a target man – if you’re going to judge him that way, you’re going to be disappointed’.

“I remember one occasion when the team were out in Spain. I was with some of my colleagues from Premier League clubs and I remember saying, ‘I have to repeat myself, guys, don’t judge him as a target man, you have to look beyond that. He runs in between, he chases space, he’s fantastic in the box, he’s that kind of player’.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘Am I the guy who is getting it wrong? Am I seeing this the wrong way?

“But there has always been this perception with some English clubs that a striker needs to look a certain way, and that a centre-half needs to look a certain way, and you need a certain frame for a certain role. When they were seeing a big striker like Erling, they were seeing a target man and I think they forgot to look at what else he could do.

“Liverpool could have got him. Arsenal could have got him. Everyone was there to watch him but these clubs were seeing a number nine who was tall and broad and, ‘Oh, he’s going to be a target man’. I couldn’t for the life of me see why they had narrowed him down that way.”

Vik also detailed how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was Molde boss at time time, phoned Manchester United to make a move to Haaland.

He said: “Me and Ole understood that this kid was so good we were not going to be able to keep him.

“Ole agreed with absolutely everything. ‘I will put a phone call in’, he said, ‘they need to hear about this kid’.

“We had friends at United. I used to work closely with United, in the early 2000s, and most of the guys I knew had gone. But Ole was Ole. ‘For God’s sake’, I said, ‘call Nicky Butt (then United’s head of academy), or call somebody, because this kid is unreal’.

“This was even before Erling had really started to play for Molde properly. Ole put the phone call in. So the name was put in. Then, how or whether United followed it up, I don’t know.”